Computerized prompting partners and keystroke recording devices: Two macro driven writing tools
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Recent research into composing processes has focused on instructional intervention strategies that promote effective composition practices within computerized writing environments. The field of computers and composition has benefitted both from advances in computing tools and developments in learning theory. The innovative computer tool discussed in this paper uses the macro-command language of a full-featured word processor to enact strategic support designed to help writers with their written work. From a theoretical standpoint, this tool created a writing environment based on Vygotskian theory of mediated learning and was grounded in an instructional strategy known as “procedural facilitation.” To evaluate the effectiveness of this computerprompting tool, a second macro application was used to log student keystrokes, thereby tracking student writing development, revisionary practices, and keystroke reactions to the prompting partner. Students using the prompting tool enacted divergent and convergent thinking assistance that appeared at the bottom of their computer screens while the system saved a process record of their keystrokes. Procedures for creating macro-driven prompting programs and keystroke-logging devices are discussed. Additionally, a catalog of prompts and summary of keystroke-mapping benefits are provided. Finally, our research using the macro-driven prompting partner and keystroke-register tool is detailed.
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